Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Author survey on level of protection needed for OA articles

Elizabeth Gadd, Charles Oppenheim, Steve Probets, RoMEO studies 6: rights metadata for open archiving, Program: Electronic Library and Information Systems, 38, 1 (2004). Only the abstract is accessible to non-subscribers, at least so far. "This is the final study in a series of six emanating from the UK JISC-funded RoMEO Project (rights metadata for open-archiving), which investigated the intellectual property rights issues relating to academic author self-archiving of research papers. It reports the results of a survey of 542 academic authors, showing the level of protection required for their open access research papers. It then describes the selection of an appropriate means of expressing those rights through metadata and the resulting choice of Creative Commons licences. Finally, it outlines proposals for communicating rights metadata via the Open Archives Initiative's Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)."

DSpace Federation now open to all

The DSpace Federation is now open to everyone. The federation welcomes new members who can contribute through programming, testing, debugging, writing and reviewing documentation, or participating in any of the new domain-specific Special Interest Groups it is launching. For more detail see MacKenzie Smith's summary of last week's meeting of the DSpace user community.

Friday, March 19, 2004

News article on BioMed Central pricing changes

Andrew Albanese, BioMed Central Changes Tack, Library Journal 3/15/2004. Albanese reports on BMC's proposal to change institutional membership charges from a "flat fee" to a "per article published" model. Further, the article reports that the changes were announced on the LIBLICENSE-L discussion list, which surprised Phil Davis, librarian of Cornell University, who remarked: "I think BMC is trying to figure out their model as they go along," and also expressed doubts that the new model would bring home knowledge of actual publishing costs to scholars and that libraries would pay: "It is potentially a suicidal model in terms of our budget." Lastly, comments of Scott Plutchak, the editor of the Journal of the Medical Library Association, are included, particularly his view that OA is "an 'institutional' issue, not merely a library issue."

It's not funny any more

Donald Trump has made a lot of money recently saying "You're Fired! on television. Now he wants to copyright the phrase. According to ABC News, Trump is "seeking exclusive rights to use the phrase on items of clothing, as well as 'games and playthings,' and in connection with 'casino services'." (PS: Time for basement T-shirt makers to get into the act.)

Nature launches OA forum on OA

Nature has launched Access to the literature: the debate continues, a new collection of OA opinion pieces on the subject of OA. From the site: "The Internet is profoundly changing how scientists work and publish. New business models are being tested by publishers, including open access, in which the author pays and content is free to the user. This ongoing web focus will explore current trends and future possibilities. Each week, the website will publish specially commissioned insights and analysis from leading scientists, librarians, publishers and other stakeholders, as well as key links, and articles from our archive. All content is available free." These contributions are already online:

This is Nature's second OA debate on OA. The first, from 2001, is still online and still recommended.

EMBO Reports moves 9 months of back issues from open to closed

In a posting to our forum, Bernd-Christoph Kaemper reports that EMBO Reports has changed its access policy on back issues. As a result, nine months of its back run (the last nine months of 2003) have returned from open access to closed access.

ERIC contractor finally appointed

The U.S. Department of Education has given a five-year contract to Computer Services Corporation to operate the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). From the press release: "The ERIC database is the world's largest education database. Begun in 1966, it is composed of more than one million bibliographic records. The goal of the new ERIC is to provide more education materials quicker, and more directly, to audiences through the Internet. With the new ERIC, individuals will be able to go to one Web site to search a comprehensive database of journal articles and document abstracts and descriptions and, for the first time, directly access full text. The database will include as much free full text as possible, and links will be provided to commercial sources so that individuals can purchase journal articles and other full text immediately." (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) (PS: This appointment was expected last October and marks one of the last large steps in the federal reorganization of ERIC, which is both one of the largest and one of the oldest OA resources.)

Federal priorities for digital libraries

Ronald Larsen and Howard Wactlar, Knowledge Lost in Information, NSF, March 8, 2004. A Report of the NSF Workshop on Research Directions for Digital LIbraries (Chatham, Massachusetts, June 15-17, 2003). Excerpt: "Digital libraries are transforming research, scholarship and education at all levels. Vast quantities of information are being collected and stored online, and organized to be accessible to everyone. Substantial improvements in scholarly productivity are already apparent. Digital resources have demonstrated the potential to advance scholarly productivity, easily doubling research output in many fields within the next decade. These resources can also become primary resources for education, holding the potential for advances in life- long learning that have been sought for many years. But such progress will not be achieved without investment. This report details the nature of the federal investment required to sustain the pace of progress....[T]he next phase of digital library research should focus on...[i]mproving availability, accessibility and, thereby, productivity." (Thanks to Information Community News.)

Colin Steele on eprints, OA, and more

JISC has published an interview with Colin Steele, Director of Scholarly Information Strategies at the Australian National University (March 18, 2004). Excerpts, all quoting Steele:

ePrints are only part of the wider repository debate. It is quite clear that the main issue in populating repositories is a cultural and political one and not a technical issue. This has been reinforced by the presentations at the third OAI conference in Geneva and the Open Access conference in Southampton on February 19. There is a mismatch between the zeal of the open access advocates...and the vast majority of the academic community. I've called this the sound of one hand clapping! [...]

I see ePrints and ePresses as being part of a seamless process. The work of Dr Roy Tennant at California needs to be recognised here as providing a future model through California's eScholarship as well as the Columbia eGutenberg project. As long as one can search in a federated manner then a repository can hold all manner of material for example peer reviewed and non-peer reviewed, grey literature, digital theses, free electronic monographs and commercial books. [...]

The debate on open access is a huge and confused one. Just to keep up with the writings of Professor Stevan Harnad and Professor Peter Suber's Open Access Bloglet is almost a fulltime job! The response of publishers to the current UK House of Commons Inquiry reflects a myriad of views towards the Open Access issue but we are still in very early days. I would think for Elsevier that Open Access is still only a very small cloud flitting across the blue sky of profits. Until the academic community become involved in the debate at an individual or institutional level I feel that, despite the publicity, that the ground is only going to shift slowly.

More on the DC principles

Katie Mantell, Societies back expanded free access to research, SciDev.Net, March 18, 2004. Excerpt: "A substantial number of the United States' leading medical and scientific societies have declared their support for free access to research under certain circumstances --including access by scientists working in low-income countries."

Can publishers improve peer review?

One of the claims made by traditional publishers is that the peer review process might be harmed if open access business models and practices were adopted. But as this editorial in the BMJ shows, peer review is too important to be left to publishers to manage. Formal training and academic recognition are necessary to improve the quality of peer reviewing. The former is unlikely to be provided by publishers; the latter is something over which they have little influence.

Thursday, March 18, 2004

On the OECD Declaration on Access to Research Data

Peter Arzberger et al, An International Framework to Promote Access to Data, Science 303 (5565), 1777-1778 (19 March 2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) An international group that studied issues involved in data access reports on issues and obstacles they encountered in the process. The group advised the OECD, resulting in that body's Declaration on Access to Research Data From Public Funding (see Peter Suber's earlier posting.) Excerpt: "Open access to publicly funded data provides greater returns from the public investment in research, generates wealth through downstream commercialization of outputs, and provides decision-makers with facts needed to address complex, often transnational, problems." Among other issues, the group asks how to encourage data-sharing, especially making datasets usable in multiple disciplines, how to improve data access in developing countries, and how public-private research partnerships may have conflicts with making data accessible.

Update: See the press release.

Letter criticizing commecial medical publishers

Peter Harvey, Medical publishers: a charity worth supporting?, The Lancet 363(9407), 492 (7 February 2004.) A doctor relates an anecdote where he was asked to write a chapter for a "commercial book on clinical negligence, designed for lawyers but written by doctors." Harvey tells how he was told he must surrender copyright and even negotiate rights to and pay for any figures from other works that he may wish to use. When he tried to negotiate compensation for his work, he was denied. "I enquired among my academic friends whether publishing houses normally fleeced the medical profession like this, and was told that this was perfectly normal practice." The writer probably wouldn't care for the author-pays model, either.

Israeli research institute launches interdisciplinary science journal

HAIT Journal of Science and Engineering. The Holon Academic Institute of Technology has launched a quarterly science journal. While the articles are freely available, no specific statements about open access appear on the website. The first issue features extensive papers on nanophysics and quantum information. The editors state: "The main direction of editorial policy is compilation of thematic issues devoted to hot topics in various branches of physics, technology and physical aspects of life sciences." Conference proceedings will also be included. (Source:

News article on DC principles

David Malakoff, "Open" Versus "Free" Journals, ScienceNOW, 16 March 2004. (Access restricted to subscribers.) Malakoff reports on "The Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science," signed by 48 scientific society publishers affirming their commitment to making articles freely available "depending on each publisher's business and publishing requirements." The article presents these society publishers as negotiating a middle way between open access/author-payment models and for-profit publishers. Rick Johnson, SPARC executive director is quoted: "The DC Principles is consistent with the values of the open access movement, and we support what societies are trying to do ... They make the case that societies aren't part of the problem, but they have more work to do to establish that societies are part of the solution." (Source: Peter Suber)

Hal Abelson on OpenCourseWare and DSpace

David Hendricks, MIT's maverick view of intellectual property worth considering, San Antonio Express News, March 18, 2004. An interview with MIT's Hal Abelson, touching on MIT's OpenCourseWare and DSpace projects. Quoting Abelson: "Both sites strengthen the intellectual commons. Universities are meant to pass the torch of civilization....Giving it away helps defuse complex intellectual property issues of ownership and control that can distract the universities from their missions to disseminate knowledge....[It's not all altruism, however.] MIT does this in part to keep a seat at the table in decisions about the disposition of knowledge in the information age."

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Comparison of US and UK cancer informatics projects

Making data dreams come true, Nature 428, 239 (18 March 2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) A Nature editorial ponders the data-sharing possibilities unleashed by the U.S. National Cancer Institute's Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid (caBig; see Peter Suber's previous posting) and Britain's National Cancer Research Institute. The editorial remarks:
despite the need of researchers to protect not only their patients but also their competitive interests, the leaders of these bioinformatics initiatives have been gratified by the positive attitudes to data sharing encountered so far on both sides of the Atlantic. Next, and sooner rather than later, comes the challenge of extending cancer bioinformatics collaboration across the disparate research and health systems of Europe.

The NCRI also published a "statement of intent" in the same issue of Nature.

Update (3/18/04): Stephen Pincock, Cancer Data Initiative Launched, The Scientist, March 18, 2004, has more on the NCRI project and comments from NCRI and NCI officials.

OA for radiology Q&A

The Society for Computer Applications in Radiology (SCAR) has converted its SCAR Expert Hotline to open access. Quoting the press release: "This valuable question and answer resource, previously available only to current SCAR members in print format, will now be archived and updated online for access by both members and non-members alike. Searching and viewing the service is free, and provides a wealth of information for professionals who use, or are interested in PACS [Picture Archiving and Communication System] technology and clinical implementation of information systems in imaging." Posting questions will be free for members and cost non-members $125. But reading the Q&A will be free for all.

Project Gutenberg controversy

Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg, the leading online library of open-access books in the public domain, has licensed the PG name to Project Gutenberg 2, a for-fee site. Is this a sell-out or just a harmless way to raise revenue? (Thanks to LIS News.)

Lessig: copyright balance needed for innovation

Robert McMillan, Lessig: Be wary of "IP extremists", ComputerWorld, March 17, 2004. Summarizing Lawrence Lessig's Tuesday talk to the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco. Excerpt: "Citing a decision last year by the World Intellectual Property Organization to cancel a meeting on the role of open source in world intellectual property law [PS: the meeting would also have covered open access to research literature], Lessig said that the argument over intellectual property law has become unnecessarily polarized because entities such as the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) claim that there are only two choices when it comes to IP: maximum copyright protection or anarchy....Lessig argued that balanced intellectual property laws were essential to innovation, which often flourishes without strict IP encumbrances. 'This debate is not commerce versus anything,' he said. 'This debate is about whether powerful interests can stop new innovations. It is a cultural dilemma.' Without the abdication of at least some intellectual property rights, important 'intellectual commons' such as the Internet, the Human Genome Project, and even the Global Positioning System could never develop, he said."

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Value of the public domain for science

Pamela Samuelson, Preserving the Positive Functions of the Public Domain in Science, Data Science Journal 2, 192 (24 November 2003). Samuelson discusses the impact of intellectual property laws on the scientific community and how scientists can influence IP legislation to protect use of the public domain, including sharing data and publications in open repositories. (Source: Diglet

Scholarly publishing embargoes: IEEE members protest their society's actions

John Dudley Miller, IEEE members furious, The Scientist, March 16, 2004. Miller reports on a petition organized by IEEE members and engineers worldwide calling on the society to "cease discrimination against IEEE members from countries that are embargoed by the US Government." The article quotes one IEEE fellow: "This has created just tremendous bad will toward the IEEE."

PNAS lauds data sharing standards

Nicholas R. Cozzarelli, UPSIDE: Uniform Principle for Sharing Integral Data and Materials Expeditiously, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101(11), 3721-3722 (March 16, 2004). (Access restricted to subscribers.) A PNAS editorial states the journal's policy for authors providing open access to data by depositing it in an appropriate disciplinary repository, such as the Protein Data Bank, GenBank or the fMRI data center. Their policy has been in line with principles articulated in a recent National Academies study referred to as the Cech report, "termed 'UPSIDE,' or the 'uniform principle for sharing integral data and materials expeditiously.'"

More on OA to Canadian dissertations

Further to an item posted to this blog on 30 January 2004, OA to Canadian dissertations: An article, National Library launches portal for master's and PhD theses, in the March 2004 issue of University Affairs, is about the launch of Theses Canada. A (positive) excerpt: "Already the site represents the largest free, full-text database of electronic theses available anywhere in the world, says Sharon Reeves, manager of Theses Canada". Another (negative) excerpt: "...Theses Canada stores the documents in Adobe's longstanding PDF format, which is not easy to read online; more importantly, PDF documents are often missed by popular search engines like Google".

Response to the DC principles

A group of library associations and public-interest advocacy organizations has issued a response to the DC principles. Excerpt:
We applaud the publishers who have signed the D.C. Principles for their commitment to free access to peer-reviewed research literature where they conclude it is feasible. [...]

Open access is our goal for scientific and scholarly communication because it facilitates the open discussion needed to accelerate research, share knowledge, and enlarge human understanding. The goal is so desirable -- for science itself and for researchers, universities, libraries, journals, publishers, learned societies, foundations, governments, and citizens -- that any problems we encounter in pursuing it are worth solving. Our organizations stand ready to work toward solutions in cooperation with the signatories of the D.C. Principles.

(PS: Full disclosure. I'm affiliated with two of the groups issuing the response and participated in its drafting.)

DC Principles for Free Access to Science

This morning in Washington, a group of 48 non-profit publishers released the Washington D.C. Principles for Free Access to Science. The principles assert that non-profit publishers "reinvest all of the revenue from [their] journals in the direct support of science worldwide, including scholarships, scientific meetings, grants, educational outreach, advocacy for research funding, the free dissemination of information for the public, and improvements in scientific publishing." In addition, they support the following forms of free online access:
  • Selected important articles of interest are free online from the time of publication;
  • The full text of our journals is freely available to everyone worldwide either immediately or within months of publication, depending on each publisher's business and publishing requirements;
  • The content of our journals is available free to scientists working in many low-income nations;
  • Articles are made available free online through reference linking between these journals;
  • Our content is available for indexing by major search engines so that readers worldwide can easily locate information.

The signatories assert that "publication fees should not be borne solely by researchers and their funding institutions, because the ability to publish in scientific journals should be available equally to all scientists worldwide, no matter what their economic circumstances....[W]e believe that a free society allows for the co-existence of many publishing models." For more detail, see the page of background information, the press release, or the media advisory.

New OA digital libraries funded by NSDL

Lee Zia, The NSF National Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Digital Library (NSDL) Program New Projects in Fiscal Year 2003, D-Lib Magazine, March 2004. A dazzling catalog of new OA digital libraries in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Reflections on WSIS

Patrice Lyons, The World Meets the Internet, D-Lib Magazine, March 2004. Reflections on the World Summit on the Information Society. Excerpt: "The importance of information and knowledge development, including culturally diverse and multi-lingual materials, with open access to such knowledge for human progress and well-being, was a consistent theme throughout the Summit, particularly in the programs organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)....While there was an emphasis on open access to information, particularly at the government level, there was also recognition of the importance of intellectual property protection."

PLoS co-founders win Wired Rave awards

The PLoS co-founders, Pat Brown, Mike Eisen, and Harold Varmus, were nominated for Wired Rave Awards in February and named as winners last night. Wired Magazine promises full coverage in its April issue. Congratulations to Pat, Mike, and Harold!

Monday, March 15, 2004

Kenneth Olden recognized

The Society of Toxicology will give its 2004 Public Communications Award to Kenneth Olden, Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. The award will be given at the SOT's annual meeting on March 21 in Baltimore. Among Olden's other accomplishments is the conversion of Environmental Health Perspectives to open access in January 2004. For more details on the award, see the NIH press release or the NIEHS/NTP press release. For more details on the conversion of EHP to OA, see our previous blog postings on the subject.

C&EN notes UK hearings and libraries' resistance to "big deal"

Sophie Rovner, Pressures Mount for Journals: Academics resist price increases as politicians probe publishing business, Chemical & Engineering News 82(11), 10 (March 15, 2004). A brief news article notes the UK Parliament's Committee on Science & Technology's inquiry into scientific journal pricing and the viability of open access. A review of universities' efforts to resist Elsevier's "big deal" is also included.

Two feasible paths to OA

Frederick J. Friend, How can there be open access to journal articles? Serials, March 2004 (accessible only to subscribers, at least for now). Abstract: "The possibility of open access to journal literature has generated considerable discussion in the academic, publishing and library communities. This has largely centred not on the desirability of open access in principle but upon its practicability and its effect upon the traditional journal publication system. This article will examine points made in the public discussion of the two major routes to open access outlined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), author self-archiving in academic repositories and the publication of journals using new toll-free economic models. Issues both for and against open access have been raised by authors, by publishers and by librarians, and a realistic approach to the feasibility of open access is important. The conclusion reached will be that open access to journal literature is feasible through either BOAI strategy but that more investigation is needed of both the positive and the negative messages received from stakeholders with as much experimentation of different models as possible."

OpenNet Initiative launches

In February, the Munk Centre, Berkman Center, and University of Cambridge launched the OpenNet Initiative, whose mission is to monitor, analyze, and expose national regimes of internet censorship, filtering, and surveillance around the world. It doesn't matter whether nations adopted these practices in order to protect intellectual property, national security, or religious orthodoxy. ONI's premise is that they "can seriously erode civil liberties and privacy, and stifle global communications." (Thanks to The Filter.)

How writing teachers can help

Charles Lowe, Copyright, Access and Digital Texts, Across the Disciplines, December 9, 2003. Lowe argues that writing teachers have a special opportunity, and responsibility, to teach students about open access and the unbalanced state of copyright law today. He gives a good deal of the history of how our copyright law became one-sided, and how it has triggered resistance and alternatives, including a section on the rise of the OA movement. Throughout he offers a good set of links for readers who want to read further.

Elsevier's Scopus released for expanded testing

Paula Hane, Elsevier Announces Scopus Service, Information Today, March 15, 2004. Excerpt: "After two years of planning, development, and initial testing by a select group of about 20 university libraries, Elsevier has finally made an official announcement of the first fully functioning version of Scopus, its highly anticipated, full-text linking, abstracting and indexing database. The company is now providing access to another 30 academic libraries for final testing and user trials, will add more libraries over the next 6 months, and expects to have the commercial release available by Q4 2004. Scopus is designed to be an all science, comprehensive access point for a library, with coverage of 13,000 titles from over 4,000 STM publishers, plus coverage of over 100 open access journals by the summer. Scopus also simultaneously searches the scientific Web using Elsevierís science-only Internet search engine, Scirus. The company aimed to make the Scopus service 'as easy to use as Google,' with fewer clicks to the full text than any service available....Scopus draws from all major databases, including EMBASE, Compendex, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, etc, as well as from individual publishers....Scopus will also provide a complete service package that includes local customer support, customer-specific usage reports that will be COUNTER compliant, as well as on- and off-site training. Scopus is OpenURL compliant....Cited reference searching logically raises the question of competing with Thomson ISIís Web of Science. While they will surely be seen as rival services, Elsevier representatives stated that Scopus was not designed to go head-to-head with ISIís products, and pointed out the different functionality and the additional content in Scopusó13,000 titles versus 8,500 titles in Web of Science (which includes social science and humanities titles in the 8,500). However, Web of Science has back files to 1945." (PS: Also see the Elsevier press release and the Scopus site itself. The official launch will take place later this year.)

New issue of Open Access Now

The March 15 issue of Open Access Now is now online. This issue features an editorial by Jonathan Weitzman on the OECD Declaration, a news story on the launch of Cornell's Internet-First University Press, and a profile of LOCKSS. It also contains a slightly revised version of my essay, The many-copy problem and the many-copy solution, which originally appeared in SOAN for 1/2/04.

Why provide OA to books?

The Ludwig von Mises Institute publishes priced, printed books, and for many of them provides free online full-text. Jeffrey Tucker, the Institute's Editorial Vice President, wrote a March 12 note for the Institute blog to explain, Why We Put Books Online. Excerpt: "As a non-profit dedicated to getting the word out about Austrian economics, and serving as many people in the world who are interested in learning, it only makes sense that we pursue every viable means of doing so. To have the means of providing something as powerful as [these books] for free and not doing so would amount to deliberately withholding the product pending payment from people who may or may not have the means of providing it. That prospect has to make every nonprofit that cares about its mission somewhat squeamish. So we gladly offer these texts at no charge simply because we believe that this is part of our core mission. If that sounds implausibly high-minded, there are other considerations at work. There was much confusion in the early days of the web about whether online viewing would displace books. It didn't happen. In fact, the broad development of the web as a vehicle for commercial search and delivery has actually led to a boom in books sales, both new and used. Also, experience suggests that online and offline books are different goods that serve different purposes (quick reference versus deep reading; quote checking versus extended study; etc.)....All of this means that one does not (necessarily) cut into ones sales by offering the book online for free. In fact, by showing people what is inside the book, it is possible to increase sales of the offline book." (Thanks to Kimmo Kuusela.)

51 liberal arts colleges join PLoS

Fifty-one liberal arts college libraries, known as the Oberlin Group, have become institutional members of the Public Library of Science. Today's press release quotes Larry Frye, Head Librarian at Wabash College: "My colleagues and I welcome the opportunity to support efforts such as PLoS that offer our science faculties a new way to share their research widely as a public resource available to other scholars around the world. We hope that our commitment will encourage other academic libraries to join PLoS." (PS: I'm very proud to say that Earlham College, where I taught for 21 years, and where I retain a research affiliation, is a member of this group.)

Sunday, March 14, 2004

JISC/OSI report on author attitudes toward OA

Last week when I blogged JISC's new funding program for OA publishers, I forgot to blog the results of the JISC/OAI survey on author attitudes toward OA. The funding program and survey results were announced in the same press release. Excerpt from the survey report: "Awareness of the concept of open access amongst those who had not taken this publishing route was quite high: almost two-thirds of respondents were familiar with the open access concept. Only around a quarter of authors in this group had been made aware of open access initiatives by their institution. The proportion of open access author respondents whose institution had drawn their attention to such outlets was higher, at 42%....The primary reason for choosing an open access outlet in which to publish is a belief in the principle of free access to research information. Over 90% of open access authors said this is important. These authors also perceive open access journals as being faster than traditional journals, having a larger readership and thus resulting in higher numbers of citations to their work....Authors feel that any publication fees required should come from research grants first and foremost and, failing that, from their institution or its library....Almost all the authors in both groups said that if publishing their work in an open access outlet were a condition of a grant-awarding body they would comply; fewer than ten percent said this condition would make them look elsewhere for funding....Respondents from both groups are poorly informed [about eprint archiving] and only small minorities have ever self-archived their articles in an institutional or subject-specific repository. The highest level of activity of this type is posting a copy of published articles on their own website, something less than a quarter of our authors have done. Once again, authors express their willingness to use such archives if they are available...."

Simon Caulkin's perspective

Here's an excerpt from Simon Caulkin's excellent article in this morning's Observer (just posted by Ben Toth). "How's this for a winning publishing formula? A university funds scientific research; the research is turned into a paper by an author, who pays a colour illustration and reprint charge - say, £1,000 - and surrenders the copyright for the privilege of publishing his findings in a specialised journal. Peers review the work for free, then the publisher prints the article - and sells it back for a hefty fee to the institution where the work was carried out in the first place. Welcome to scientific publishing....It may not stay that way for much longer....[T]he scientific publishing shake-up is due to a combination of unsustainable monopoly and online technology that undermines the cost basis of traditional publishing....But even in the short term, there will undoubtedly be a richer, more competitive publishing ecology. And you don't need a scientific journal to tell you that richer competition equals greater benefits for science - and poorer profits for the likes of Reed Elsevier."

Observer: The web is ending scientific publishing's stranglehold

In the wake of the UK House of Commons enquiry, the influential UK newspaper The Observer publishes a article on Open Access in its business section, entitled The web is ending scientific publishing's stranglehold.